Welcome Kendra Wilkinson, our celebrity guest blogger! Kendra is the star of E's reality show Kendra and previously starred in The Girls Next Door. She's also the author of two books, Sliding into Home, and most recently, Being Kendra. She is married to professional football player Hank Baskett and mom to toddler Hank Jr.
When I first brought baby Hank home from the hospital (4 days after giving birth to him) I had no idea what kind of parent I would be. My whole pregnancy I had ideas of what I thought I would be like, but just like my cravings, they changed daily. The one thing I knew for sure was that I was going to be protective—I just didn’t know what that would entail. Would I protect him from anything and everything? Would I be able to step back and let him learn things on his own? I didn’t know which route I was going to go. Once he was born, everything kind of fell into place, and I knew almost immediately I wanted him to be able to go out there and learn on his own and experience life on his own.
We can do our best as parents to teach him, but it is up to him to learn. For example, he used to love to play with water; he would sit there and turn the faucet on and off and get the biggest kick out of it. One time the water was pushed to the hot side—not all the way, but still on the hot side. I kept telling him “Hot, Hank, No, Hank, Ouchie.” But I DIDN’T turn it off. I told him why not to touch it. He looked up at me and said, “Hot!” and didn’t touch it. If I had turned the faucet off he probably would have burned his hand at some point because he wouldn’t have known better. I would have prevented the incident instead of teaching him to learn for next time.
Growing up, I learned a lot on my own, and I believe it made me become the person I am today. I’ve discovered over the past two years that the key to being a good mom is finding the balance between guiding your child but also allowing them to learn on their own. You won’t be able to be there every second of the day, so it’s good for them to learn how to solve problems on their own.
It’s funny, at the park sometimes when baby Hank is running and he falls, SO many parents’ heads turn, and they automatically jump up and say “Oh my gosh, is he OK?” Of course, he’s OK, kids will fall—especially when they’re running around, playing and having fun! They won’t go through life without a cut, or a scrape or a bruise. He will run as fast as he can and fall, but then the next time he will know to run a little bit slower until he figures out on his own how fast he can run without falling.
My goal is to teach him that a scrape or a bruise hurts for a minute, but it’s nothing to make a big fuss over. I remember growing up playing softball and soccer I used to have scrapes and bruises all the time! Those were my battle wounds! Those were my memories of when I was sliding into home plate and when I was diving for a ball. I’ve come to learn that when he falls he always looks up to me to see my reaction. If I were to make a big fuss over it and a big deal, HE would do the same. He would cry when maybe it didn’t really hurt, simply because he would see other people making a big deal. If you gasp, or scream or make a big deal they will too. The other day my son was running and he fell, but then he looked up at me and started laughing.
I will be honest… there is ONE thing I am completely overprotective about and will shelter him from until he is old enough to understand. The ONE thing I really don’t play around with is POOLS, and learning about pools and swimming. I am a stickler about pool safety and will do anything I can to make sure he is safe around water.
It’s good to be aware and attentive but not smothering. So far, so good with my baby—Hank’s almost two, but who knows, 10 years from now I might be running onto a football field he’s playing on to make sure he’s OK!